Did you know that native bees are significant in Kombumerri culture? Jabreen, the Kombumerri creator, feasted on native bee honey after shaping the lands and waters of the Gold Coast. Jabreen eventually created Jellargal (Burleigh Mountain), the place of honey and the place of bees. The Dreaming story emphasizes the sacred connection between Aboriginal culture and the bounties of the land.
Understanding Australian Native Bees
This year Australian Pollinator Week is the 11th – 19th November, and its a great opportunity to get to know about native bees in Australia. More than 1,700 identified species of native bees have been identified in Australia! Native bees play an extremely important role in pollinating native flora and agricultural crops.
We’ve got so many different types of bees! From the solitary blue-banded to the communal stingless varieties, and everything in between. One of our favourites is the big fluffy teddy bear bee, Amegilla bombiformis, who will nest in holes in the ground. We wrote a story about them, and that’s one of the ways we will be celebrating pollinators this week.
Ways to Engage Children with Native Bees
Learn the Waggle Dance! Learn about how bees communicate where the best flowers are. Learn the dance here: https://www.australianpollinatorweek.org.au/about/waggle-dance-challenge/
Planting a Pollinator Garden: Involve children in planting a pollinator garden with native flowers and cottage flowers. Bees love colour, and the more colours and flowers, the more bees you’ll see!
Creating Bee Hotels: Create a bee refuge – a dry place to burrow and lay eggs. It can be as simple as bundling some sticks together with string and mud (pictured above), or you can drill some long holes in a log and keep your hotels in a sheltered spot to stay dry.
Storytelling: Encourage children to create stories about various bee species, by providing small world props. Create your own story about the different types of bees, like we did!
Nature Crafts: Make your own native bees. We like to wrap wool around banksia cones and add some little bits of netting for wings. Hang on a string and go play! Simple, sustainable and delightful for lots of imaginative play and storytelling.
Installing a Native Bee Hive: Many early childhood services have a native beehive in their play areas. Be sure to keep them in a sunny spot, keep the ants away and get professional support to harvest honey.
Of course there are Australian butterflies to celebrate too! Our Richmond Birdwing Butterfly project is still going strong, with our children having planted hundreds of native vines to protect habitat for this special butterfly. Read about it HERE.
Australian Pollinator Week offers a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the crucial role of native bees, butterflies and bird – and the rich cultural connections between Indigenous communities and the natural world.
Let’s inspire our children to appreciate and honor the buzzing world of native bees, fostering a lasting love for nature and its precious pollinators.
Would you like to know more about our storytelling for ecological awareness? Keep an eye out for our next workshops and training in our unique approach to Ecological Storytelling. Or invite us over to work with you!